First Mars, now Jupiter – Rakon’s stellar tech onboard European Space Agency’s JUICE mission to observe Jupiter’s icy moons
Rakon 20 April 2023
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Multiple cutting edge products from Kiwi high-tech manufacturer Rakon are onboard the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer mission, or JUICE, which will make detailed observations of Jupiter and three of its biggest moons – looking for signs of life.
The mission launched from the ESA’s spaceport in French Guiana last Friday and has now begun its 8-year journey to Jupiter.
Three Rakon products will play a critical role on the mission, by providing precise references for several of the scientific payloads that will be studying Jupiter’s moons, Ganymede, Callisto, and Europa, which are thought to have subsurface oceans that could potentially host life.
The highly stable, low phase-noise reference solutions were developed and manufactured at Rakon’s facility in Troyes, France, with each being comprehensively tested to ensure it could endure Jupiter’s harsh environment. Rakon worked closely with several partners to provide the timing solution for their payloads (3GM, RIME and SWI) onboard the JUICE mission.
Rakon CEO Sinan Altug says the company’s involvement in the JUICE mission continues a multi-decade history of Rakon products playing a role in ground breaking international space programmes.
“It’s exciting to be involved in the group of companies and scientific institutions that made the JUICE mission a reality and we’re honoured to contribute to this mission and other space programmes like it that are helping to answer some of humankind’s biggest questions,” says Altug.
“Our products are currently on Mars helping to explore for signs of life as part of NASA’s Perseverance Rover and now, as part of the JUICE mission, they’ll be heading even further out into our galaxy to do the same around Jupiter and its moons.”
Rakon’s space products have been a part of more than 50 international space programmes over the last 40 years, including the Sentinel, Galileo, Globalstar, Mars Perseverance, and Rosetta missions. On top of its components portfolio for space, the company has branched out into NewSpace Equipment that increasingly features in large Telecom and Low Earth Orbit (LEO) Positioning, Navigation and Timing (PNT) satellite constellations.
The three Rakon products onboard the JUICE mission were designed to help scientists study a range of features, including the atmosphere and ionosphere of Jupiter and its moons, and what is believed to be vast internal oceans underneath the moons’ icy crusts – potentially holding up to six times the volume of water in Earth’s oceans.
JUICE’s planned mission duration is 12 years, with the scientific instrumentation not coming into play until Jupiter’s orbit is reached in July 2031. Then four years of scientific exploration involving various flybys of Jupiter’s moons will take place until the end of its mission in 2035.
Towards the end of its mission, in 2034, JUICE will be the first human spacecraft to enter orbit around another planet’s moon, when starts its orbit around Ganymede – Jupiter’s biggest moon.
Investor and Corporate Communications Manager, Rakon
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Rakon is a global high tech company and a world leader in its field. The company designs and manufactures advanced frequency control and timing solutions that provide the heartbeat of much of today’s communications and positioning technology.
Rakon has three manufacturing plants, six research and development centres, and fifteen customer support offices worldwide. Rakon was founded in Auckland in 1967 and is listed on the New Zealand stock exchange, ticker code RAK.
Rakon’s Space Solutions
Rakon’s 40-year heritage in space products is demonstrated in over 50 international space programmes including Sentinel, Galileo, Globalstar, Mars Perseverance, Rosetta and more recently in large NewSpace Telecom and LEO PNT constellations. The company has been supplying ESA qualified products since the 1980s. In 2021 Rakon was the first in the world to make it onto the European Space Components Coordination (ESCC) Qualified Parts List (QPL) for selected crystals and oscillators. For more information visit https://www.rakon.com/space.
Rakon’s products in the 3GM, RIME and SWI instruments on board the JUICE mission